Job Hopping – Helpful or Harmful?

Author: Tasha Cluskey

Times have changed and it is no longer the norm to stay within the same company for the most of your working life. After a few years it seems to be promotion or time to move on. However with this I have also noticed that some people seem to be taking this to an extreme level and a lot of permanent staff are leaving before their first year is up. This is happening in all different types of roles including, I’ve noticed, a lot in the recruitment industry.

Some people use this tactic of “job hopping” to further their career and climb the ladder quicker. I can see the benefits of this clearly; you gain many different skills in different environments in a shorter space of time. My issue is this, if you do this regularly won’t potential employers become aware that you’re probably just going to use them for a short amount of time and move on?

The truth is I don’t know so I decided to look online at some interviews with employers from all different sectors, from start ups to corporate. After quite a bit of hunting around it became very clear most people have varying opinions.

Some clearly say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. If that’s the candidate you want for the role then hire them. The majority I found, (interestingly with the largest variety in terms of sector etc) sit somewhere in the middle. They are happy to hire job hoppers in the current market however they did have some conditions. Many said if it’s every two years then that is perfectly normal but under a year for non-contractors wasn’t acceptable. Others believed (rightly or wrongly) that under the two year mark said to them it was more of a “pushed out” situation rather than leaving of free will. Others said the time wouldn’t matter to them and they wouldn’t judge someone for getting ahead but how many times they had done it would be a factor. Once or twice, no problem but five or six times and that person is unreliable. Others simply said they have no issue with any of that but they would like to know the reasons. If they are valid then there is no problem. Of course there were people at the other extreme that said they would never hire a job hopper, irrelevant of anything.

Having thought about all these opinions I think job hopping is a tool that can be very useful for your career but use it carefully. I agree with the vast majority that it isn’t a big deal in this day and age but if you’re leaving every few months and have done so on a few occasions then that will probably raise alarm bells. Make sure you’re leaving for the right reasons and not giving people reason to be cautious of hiring you.


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